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A Reflective Day with Damon Dukirk

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Kieran Carroll

I eat a lot of bananas, at least three a day, declared Damon Dukirk, to no one in particular, sitting at a table with three bananas and gazing absently at the unsuspecting fruit. He went on, as he often did: I've heard they’re good for the potassium levels, relaxing on the bowels. I don't do too much anymore. Most afternoons I'm outside this little bakery, surveying life from its single table. The mood is unperturbed, unhurried, satisfied perhaps. It's only a few hundred metres walk to the ocean. I like being next to the fruit shop. People look calm when they're choosing fruit.

He paused, for quite some time, presumably to gather his thoughts. For ten years, I wrote with an insane and profound energy: stories, novels and three volumes of obscure but technically stimulating verse which had the critics slurping up their inflated minestrones. The imaginative and autobiographical well was bottomless: at times a festering pit, at other times a serene lagoon. I could drink, party, then push on with the work next morning. Then, I'd balance things with a swim or a six kilometre jog. Women seemed to like me then too. I had four or five phone numbers and all were willing to drink the night away with me and sleep in my bed.

It’s good to see that, wearing a singlet and boxer short, he has taken the trouble to wear socks with his decaying sandals. When did the daily storms begin? When did the minestrone grow cold? Four summers ago. A string of brutal reviews for my third book of poems, one proclaiming I was ‘an obsessed upper class trivia merchant’. The publisher rang and said the book had only sold four copies, all bought by the same person, and did I know him? I thought a bath might relax me. Then, the phone rang three more times, each time a girlfriend announcing a desire for a monogamous, lifetime commitment from a well-earning man. That term well-earning - the imbalance of it!

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